People often ask me how many languages I speak, simply because my music collection holds so many international artists who don’t sing in English. But to tell the truth, I don’t require a song to be sung in a language I understand, in order for me to be able to connect with it.
If you never thought you could get into music in any language other than English, I urge you to give Anabase’s Le Bonheur Flou a try.
If you don’t already speak French, Le Bonheur Flou is the sort of album that will make you want to learn, or at least have a croissant for breakfast and pretend. The reason these songs penetrate the soul so effectively: the radiant voice of lead singer Clara Scherrer.
There’s not a person I share this album with who doesn’t develop a crush on her, based solely on her voice (mind you, it doesn’t hurt that she looks great on stage, too). When she sings, you stop caring about everything – your personal problems, your job, your rent. There’s something sufficiently Cranberries about her that you can easily imagine Clara becoming the Dolores O’Riordan of her country and generation. She has that dreamy-yet-purposeful sound that is as stirring as it is soothing.
As for the music, it’s a mix of styles that could be referred to as “alternative,” an annoyingly vague term which happens to fit in this case. Piano-based songs open up into raunchy guitars, and then settle back down into quiet acoustic numbers. Although there’s nothing particularly pop-like in the collection, the songs are well-written and interesting enough that you’ll find yourself humming along, or perhaps looking up the lyrics on Google if you’re feeling ambitious. The melodies are catchy without being corny, and the arrangements are smoothly produced without losing their edge or energy.
However, if you absolutely insist that you can’t enjoy a song without the lyrics being in English, Anabase still have you covered – “My Castle’s Down” is not the best track on the album by a long shot, but it’s enough to give you taste of Clara’s voice, which in turn will almost certainly be enough to make you want to listen to everything else she has ever recorded. Most of which is in French… but by that point you won’t care! You’ll be hooked. And if you already speak French and dig indie rock with chick singers, then Le Bonheur Flou is bound to be an instant favourite.
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